Harju street stage and an epic first leg
The action begins on the Thursday evening with the Harju street stage in the town of Jyväskylä, before drivers set off on an epic first leg on Friday which comprises a total of 13 special stages, 147 kilometers of competitive distance and almost 16 hours behind the wheel. Whilst challenging the endurance of drivers and cars, it also takes in some of the Rally Finland’s most popular stages, including Laukaa and Lankamaa as well as Jukojärvi and Urria.
For the second leg on Saturday, cars will head south to Jämsä, where they will take on the same stages as last year, but mostly in the opposite direction. This leg is another long one, at 133 kilometers in competitive distance, and will include the famous Ouninpohja, regarded by many as the Rally Finland’s signature drive. This stage will be run in its traditional direction this year after being reversed for last year’s rally.
The final leg on Sunday is just 33 km long and identical to last year, with stages to the south of Jyväskylä and the east of Lake Päijänne.
2017 rally finland characteristics
With speed is the essence throughout the rally, the role of the co-driver is crucial here. Both their notes and their delivery has to be perfect as while many roads are wide, there are some technical sections thrown in and blind crests and hidden corners can catch even the most experienced drivers out.
But there is pressure on the driver too as high speeds means minimal margins for error and even the smallest of mistakes can prove costly over the course of the rally. Then there is the risk of misjudging a jump, where the technique has to be perfect to stop the nose of the car from being lifted up. The trick of to break before the jump and then accelerate into it, but of course this can be easier said than done.
Smooth fast roads mean mechanical issues are not usually a concern here, while soft tyres are the norm, although teams will also have hard ones available.
There should be plenty of fans lining the route too, especially on Ouninpohja and some of the other famous stages. The Finns love their rallying and Jyväskylä will enjoy a carnival atmosphere throughout the weekend.
There is no ŠKODA Motorsport car taking part here this year, but there will still be plenty of FABIA R5 cars on the start line from various ŠKODA customer teams and we will be keeping a close eye on the progress of all of them throughout the weekend as always.